Author Topic: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong  (Read 29841 times)

Offline AJK

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Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
« Reply #20 on: July 18, 2013, 12:45:46 AM »
The weather, while overcast was extremely humid and warm. We were quite glad to climb on to the second floor of the double-decker tour bus and catch a breeze on our way.



Equipped with headsets that plug into the seats and offer tour commentary in eight different languages, we headed off in the direction of the large downtown. We passed countless soaring skyscrapers and remarkable buildings.









And our favorite:



Downtown Hong Kong is an interesting area in the sense that it is comprised of gorgeous, modern buildings and fancy upscale shopping areas which are juxtaposed with decrepit tenement buildings with laundry lines and clothes flapping in the wind on every floor. These run-down and, frankly, ugly buildings can be right next door to a stunning glass masterpiece of a building and it gives the city an interesting look.

The city definitely has more people than space, and the streets are filled with double-decker buses, taxis, the city’s distinct narrow, two-story trams and more people, noise, smells and action than anywhere I have seen.



After passing by a few interesting sights, we arrived at Victoria Peak and the tram terminal where we disembarked.



Victoria Peak has to be seen to be believed. Apparently, in the 1800’s wealthy British locals used to have summer homes and vacation places at the top of this mountain soaring 2,000 feet above Hong Kong harbor.  In those days, they were carried up this steep, almost vertical mountain in little boxes by locals. However, in the late 1800’s a bright Scotsman decided there had to be a better way and he came up with the idea of running a tram up the side of the mountain. This tram now carries visitors up to a viewing platform that gives one a panoramic view of the entire downtown and Hong Kong harbor.





We boarded the tram which runs for about five minute ride literally almost straight up the side of this mountain. One passes apartment buildings on the way up which are basically perpendicular to the tram car.





After arriving at the top, you can then go five more stories up to the rooftop viewing platform where you can have unparalleled views of the city.



[Note: Don’t pay extra to go to the rooftop if you ride the hop-on, hop-off bus – it’s included in the price of the ticket. We found out JUST in time.]

Even in the fog, the view was breathtaking (not to mention the sheer height which you are at). 

Click here for a large panoramic from atop the peak.

Heading back down, we jumped on another passing tour bus and proceeded into the part of downtown called Central, filled with more shopping centers, banks, skyscrapers and street vendors. We decided to take a chance and jump off the bus at this point to see if we could find the famous mid-Level escalators that run up the one of the steep inclines of the city. The mid-level escalators start on one street of the city and basically provide locals and visitors a way to avoid the steep hike up to the streets above. We got on these escalators, and passed numerous restaurants and businesses on each side of the open air escalator. 



At the end of the mid-levels we realized that we could make it to the JCC for lunch but only if we ran there in the ten minutes before it closed. Unfortunately for us, Hong Kong Island is basically a city built on the side of a sheer cliff and so our ten minute run was pretty much a ten minute hike up steep streets that deposited us outside the JCC sweating, breathless and hot. We were questioned in detail by the security guard outside who did not seem sympathetic to our obvious recent athleticism and the fact that our restaurant was closing in minutes. After determining that we were in fact Jewish and not terrorists who looked extremely Jewish, we were let in and we raced to the third floor Sabra restaurant.

They let us in even though the place seemed pretty much closed and we quickly ordered Cantonese beef and some Sweet & Sour chicken. 







The beef was delicious, while the chicken was good but quite sour. [Fries were awesome!] We marveled at the ability of being in a foreign, exotic place like Hong Kong while still being able to eat delicious, hot kosher food in a proper restaurant. We made our way down the steep streets at a much slower pace than our previous dash. Our timing proved perfect as another tour bus was passing the pick-up spot at that exact moment. We finished our journey on the Red line of the tour and arrived back at the ferry terminal where we were able to pick up a Green line of the Big Bus tours.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2013, 12:49:15 AM by AJK »
2015: 116K bkd | 1.6M brnd | F: OZ,NH,AA,EK | J: UA,CA,TK,DL,TN,AF,VA | LIH,NRT,ROR,PEK,CNS,BOB,MEL,TLV & Pacific Hopper

Offline PlatinumGuy

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Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
« Reply #21 on: July 18, 2013, 07:17:45 AM »
A wise man once said that there is more economic activity on a HK street corner than the country of Canada.
״וזה כלל גדול: שישנא אדם כל דבר שקר. וכל מה שיוסיף שנאה לדרכי השקר – יוסיף אהבה לתורה.״ - אורחות צדיקים

Offline damaxer91

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Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
« Reply #22 on: July 18, 2013, 09:41:34 AM »


And our favorite:



Anyone know what the design on those buildings is supposed to represent? (Hint is that the guy who built it was Aussie)

Offline Marco Polo

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Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
« Reply #23 on: July 18, 2013, 09:53:42 AM »
Anyone know what the design on those buildings is supposed to represent? (Hint is that the guy who built it was Aussie)
Does it count if i googled it?
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Offline Dan

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Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
« Reply #24 on: July 18, 2013, 08:22:39 PM »
Great report, keep it up :)
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Offline daganster

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Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
« Reply #25 on: July 21, 2013, 01:38:48 AM »
Is it worth spending 20k SPG points for the W in HK? Are there better values e.g. HH or Hyatt in HK?

Offline moish

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Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
« Reply #26 on: July 21, 2013, 03:25:51 AM »
Anyone know what the design on those buildings is supposed to represent? (Hint is that the guy who built it was Aussie)
nu, how long do you plan on keeping us hanging?

Offline Marco Polo

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Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
« Reply #27 on: July 21, 2013, 08:11:19 AM »
nu, how long do you plan on keeping us hanging?
Koala bears...
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Offline daganster

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Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
« Reply #28 on: July 21, 2013, 08:54:35 AM »
Is it worth spending 20k SPG points for the W in HK? Are there better values e.g. HH or Hyatt in HK?
Is it worth spending 20k SPG staying at the W, spending a free night certificate at the Conrad or one of the Hyatt hotels? In short can you please tell me why you chose the W if it clearly isn't such a bargain.

Offline AJK

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Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
« Reply #29 on: July 21, 2013, 11:55:19 AM »
Is it worth spending 20k SPG staying at the W, spending a free night certificate at the Conrad or one of the Hyatt hotels? In short can you please tell me why you chose the W if it clearly isn't such a bargain.

Didn't use points. Sold a HGP Suite night and used it to stay at W.
2015: 116K bkd | 1.6M brnd | F: OZ,NH,AA,EK | J: UA,CA,TK,DL,TN,AF,VA | LIH,NRT,ROR,PEK,CNS,BOB,MEL,TLV & Pacific Hopper

Offline AJK

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Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
« Reply #30 on: July 21, 2013, 12:52:43 PM »
The trip through Aberdeen and Stanley is exquisitely breathtaking. The roads are high up on a cliff with unmatched views of turquoise waters and lush, jungle covered cliff faces. We both sat there alternating between marveling at the sheer beauty of the area and jerking our heads up from dozing off in a jet-lagged stupor. Stanley is a suburb of Hong Kong that has a resort-town vibe with ridiculous views. Aberdeen seems to be another seaside area that has a slightly less affluent feel. The rest of the tour afforded views of a harbor where a certain group of people live on their boats anchored a little offshore, the famous Hong Kong shipping areas and other small towns.





Pulling back up at the ferry dock we dragged our exhausted selves back on a packed Star Ferry boat bound for Kowloon.

Arriving at the Kowloon terminal we grabbed a cab and went back to our hotel where we found our luggage ensconced in a new, larger home on a different floor. However, apparently AJK had worked some pretty strong magic on the staff and within minutes a bellboy knocked on our door to bring us to our third room of the day, a suite aptly named “Fantastic suite” on the 28th floor. [What I do to review all these rooms for you guys, huh? =)]











We quickly settled in and then raced down to catch a shuttle to the Avenue of the Stars for the nightly Symphony of the Lights. Avenue of the Stars is a pretty promenade that affords stunning views of downtown Hong Kong across the harbor with its myriad of towering skyscrapers and bright billboards that give Hong Kong its reputation for a brilliant skyline that rivals (and in my opinion), completely outshines New York.



The nightly light show is a laser and spotlight show that is supposedly coordinated with music. The lasers and spotlights are shone off of the tops of the skyscrapers and some skyscrapers themselves light up while loud music is pumped out of speakers on Avenue of the Stars. 

Click here for a large panoramic of the skyline.

While we found the skyline absolutely beautiful, the music and the lights were underwhelming, and after appreciating it for a little bit we walked towards the Shangri-La hotel and the Mul Hayam restaurant next door. Again, for people who usually spend their vacations eating PB & J with a side of microwavable meals, the opportunity to see a city like Hong Kong and then eat in a genuine restaurant with delicious food is absolutely incredible.



The restaurant is on the top floor of a shopping area and next door to the Kehillat Zion shul, which has minyanim three times a day packed with visiting businessmen. The restaurant has a fancier feel with comfortable, large sofa-type chairs and intimate lighting. We ordered a delicious beef, ghoulash soup, a steak and Citrus chicken along with Vietnamese rice. The food is absolutely delicious, though the portions are smaller than New York standards, but the taste is on par with or even better than some of New York’s nicest restaurants.





We finished up dinner with a wonderful chocolate cake and then got out of there before our faces fell in our Vietnamese rice. We both managed to fall asleep in the eight minute cab ride back to our hotel. However, upon arriving in our room we decided to take full advantage of our time in Hong Kong and run upstairs for a dip in the Jacuzzi and a view of the skyline at night from the 74th floor. We quickly jumped in, appreciated the view and jumped right out and headed down for a much-needed night’s rest.

The next morning dawned too quickly and again completely fog covered. AJK left to daven at KZ and we made plans for me to meet him there for the breakfast that they serve after davening. I joined him at about 8:15 at the restaurant next door to the shul (where we had eaten the night before) and they had put out a spread of made to order omelets, shakshuka, French toast, Israeli salad and coffee, all which were extremely delicious.

We then decided to head over to the Ritz Carlton, which is a two minute walk from our hotel to see a friend of AJK’s who was actually in town at the same time and staying there. The Ritz Carlton is located on the 103rd floor of the third tallest building in the world (by number of floors) and holds the esteemed title of the world’s tallest hotel. Indeed, the hotel is basically in the clouds and, with the fog of the day, you could see nothing from the lobby windows but white.

AJK’s friend met us in the lobby and we went up to see his room which was opulent and luxurious even by Ritz standards. His room, which earns its price tag for the breathtaking views it is supposed to afford of Hong Kong harbor and Hong Kong itself, basically gave you the impression that you were floating amongst the clouds. One could see not a thing out of the windows and it actually made me kind of claustrophobic. The room has floor to ceiling windows, which I am sure is a crazy experience should it be sunny out but with the thick, white, puffy, clouds surrounding you on all sides it felt a little weird. [Luckily for him, the weather cleared up the next day and the hotel earned its price tag.]









We headed back to our hotel to pack up with plans to meet up shortly after and head out together to the glass bottomed cable cars at Ngong Ping which is quite near the airport.
 
We left the W and took the elevator to the station under the hotel where there are actually airport ticket counters where you can not only check-in for your flight but also check your luggage in as well which is absolutely fabulous.  This is inestimably convenient as we were able to take care of checking in as well as get rid of our luggage. The ride to the airport took about 15 minutes and upon arriving, we left the terminal and caught a ten-minute cab ride to the cable cars.

We waited in line and were finally shown to a glass-bottomed cable car for the twenty-minute ride up the side of the mountain. The ride in a glass-bottomed car gives you incredible views of the South China sea, surrounding mountains, villages and the airport where you could see huge A380s on arrival and departure. Even on this foggy day, the view was pretty astounding. I am certain that with the best of weather the ride must be a little nerve-wracking for even the bravest of souls, but with 20-30 mph winds buffeting our little car, I have to admit that I may have felt that I was dishonoring my promise to AJK’s father not to do anything stupid.











2015: 116K bkd | 1.6M brnd | F: OZ,NH,AA,EK | J: UA,CA,TK,DL,TN,AF,VA | LIH,NRT,ROR,PEK,CNS,BOB,MEL,TLV & Pacific Hopper

Offline Marco Polo

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Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
« Reply #31 on: July 21, 2013, 01:54:23 PM »
Now I am thinking of stopping in HKG on my way to Thailand. Can't wait for the Thailand part of thr TR.
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Offline SavingsBigtime

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Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
« Reply #32 on: July 21, 2013, 02:18:12 PM »
Thanks , unbelievable tr can't wait for the thailand part

Offline damaxer91

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Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
« Reply #33 on: July 21, 2013, 07:56:37 PM »
The restaurant is on the top floor of a shopping area and next door to the Kehillat Zion shul, which has minyanim three times a day packed with visiting businessmen. The restaurant has a fancier feel with comfortable, large sofa-type chairs and intimate lighting. We ordered a delicious beef, ghoulash soup, a steak and Citrus chicken along with Vietnamese rice. The food is absolutely delicious, though the portions are smaller than New York standards, but the taste is on par with or even better than some of New York’s nicest restaurants.


This is what I miss about Hong Kong :(

Particularly the Vietnamese Rice

Fantastic TR BTW

Offline moish

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Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
« Reply #34 on: July 22, 2013, 04:46:27 AM »
This is what I miss about Hong Kong :(

Particularly the Vietnamese Rice

really? i dont remember it being that wonderful. maybe because i was zonked...

Offline damaxer91

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Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
« Reply #35 on: July 22, 2013, 07:46:27 AM »
really? i dont remember it being that wonderful. maybe because i was zonked...

My favorite!

I've had some of the most expensive meals of my life that basically consisted of that one dish (taxi's back and forth from the airport)

Offline AJK

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Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
« Reply #36 on: July 22, 2013, 11:40:45 AM »
Yes, the Vietnamese rice is ahhhmazing.

I sometimes find myself waking up in the middle of the night in cold sweat just thinking about it.
2015: 116K bkd | 1.6M brnd | F: OZ,NH,AA,EK | J: UA,CA,TK,DL,TN,AF,VA | LIH,NRT,ROR,PEK,CNS,BOB,MEL,TLV & Pacific Hopper

Offline Dan

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Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
« Reply #37 on: July 22, 2013, 11:56:20 AM »
How did I not hear about this rice 3 years ago?
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Offline moish

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Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
« Reply #38 on: July 22, 2013, 02:28:55 PM »
where does the ferrari dealership come into the tr?

Offline rots5

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Re: Southeast Asia with a Splash of Hong Kong
« Reply #39 on: July 29, 2013, 03:55:47 PM »
great stuff so far!
If you have any questions please search and then ask. PM me for detailed help.